Agriculture words and meanings IV

by Kim Cooper

This week, we will continue to look at various terms and phrases related to the agriculture sector. Thank you to Farm and Food Care Ontario for their help with this.

Polled – Breeds of goats or cattle that are naturally born without horns.

Poults – From the time they hatch until they’re 14 days old, young turkeys are called ‘poults’. They’re covered with a soft yellow “down” and make a peeping sound.

Pullet – A young female chicken.

Pullet farm – Egg farmers either raise their own pullets or buy them from pullet farms. Within 24 hours of being hatched, chicks are transported to pullet farms where they are raised until they are old enough to lay eggs. At 18 to 20 weeks of age, pullets are transported to layer farms and are then referred to as laying hens.

Ratite – Any member of the group of flightless birds like ostrich, emu or rheas that have a flat breastbone without the keel-like prominence characteristic of most flying birds. This means that they lack a strong anchor for their wing muscles and could not fly even if they did develop suitable wings. The name ratite comes from the Latin word for raft (ratis), because their breastbone looks like a raft.

Rhea – The Rhea is another member of the ratite family, native to South America. These flightless birds are smaller than the Ostrich and the Emu.

Riparian – Pertaining to the area along the banks of a river, stream, or lake.

Roaster Chicken – A larger meat chicken raised to the weight of over 2.65 kg.

Ruminant – A four-stomached animal like cattle, sheep, goats, deer or bison.

Rut – Breeding season for deer. It usually starts in September and lasts until early November.

Silo – Silos are extremely useful to store a wide variety of livestock feeds, including silage. A silo can be vertical (like a tower) or horizontal (called a bunker).

Slatted floors – A barn floor with open spaces to allow manure and other material to pass through. This keeps the barn cleaner for the animals to live in.

Snood – The snood is the fleshy growth that hangs down over the beak of a turkey.

Soil Type – The texture of the soil. This is based on the percentage of sand, silt, and clay. As examples, sandy soils drain water quickly while clay soils hold water and often require tile drainage.

Sow – An adult female pig that has given birth.

Steer – A castrated, male bovine.

As our farmers are busy with planting season over the next couple of months, tractors and other heavy and large machinery will be on our roadways. Please be careful and patient on the roadways. Our farmers are not trying to slow you down, but are just trying to do their job. Thank you for your understanding.

Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our agricultural website –

Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 45 years. He can be reached at:

You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’

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